Professor Plamen Peev, Lary Zhang and Alicia jones posing with a cardboard cut out at the national collegiate sales competition

Sales-savvy students lead TU’s debut in national sales competition

Larry Zhang and Alicia Jones competed against 400 students from 80 institutions at the National Collegiate Sales Competition (NCSC) earlier this month, marking the first time Towson University has been represented at the event.

Founded in 1999 to promote and enhance the practice and professionalism of sales, the NCSC is the longest-running role-play sales competition for university students in existence. Individuals compete in 20-minute mock sales meetings, playing the part of a salesperson presenting a product to a representative from a fictional company. Students were judged on their approach to the client, needs identification, presentation, overcoming objections and close.

“The National Collegiate Sales Competition confirmed my future in sales,” said Jones, a mass communications major with a dual track in public relations and advertising and a minor in marketing. “I got the chance to speak with other students, professors and companies outside of Towson to get new perspectives on the future. It shifted my goals, boosted my confidence and made me realize I need to aim higher.”

Although neither Zhang, a nursing major, nor Jones won overall, they tied for second through fifth place among the 17 universities competing for the first time—earning TU a guaranteed spot to send competitors to the 2019 competition. The competition is only open to 80 universities each year and previously competing schools that place in a certain rank are given preference for the following year’s competition.

“The exposure students get to national recruiters from 43 companies (list included) is unparalleled – attending the event one really feels like the cream of the crop in terms of sales students has converged on Kennesaw State’s campus and it is not uncommon for contestants to get 30+ interviews out of it,” said Plamen Peev, Associate Professor of Marketing, who teaches professional selling courses in the College of Business and Economics.

Both Zhang and Jones competed in the third annual CBE Sales Competition in October, which made them eligible to attend the national event and helped prepare them for the intense competition.

The CBE Sales Competition is open to students of all majors and no experience or previous interest in sales is required. In addition to the opportunity to network with judges and buyers looking to hire, students can compete for scholarship prizes along with the chance to attend next year’s national sales competition. First place is $1,500. Second plans is $1,000 and third place is $500. CBE’s 2018 competition is scheduled for Oct. 26.

“Students should definitely think about participating in the sales competition even if they have never considered sales before,” said Jones. “In this short amount of time since the Towson Sales Competition I realized sales is certainly where I see myself in the future.”